Censorship and Two Types of Self-Censorship


We propose and defend a distinction between two types of self-censorship: public and private. In public self-censorship, individuals restrain their expressive attitudes in response to public censors. In private self-censorship, individuals do so in the absence of public censorship. We argue for this distinction by introducing a general model which allows us to identify, describe, and compare a wide range of censorship regimes. The model explicates the interaction between censors and censees and yields the distinction between two types of self-censorship. In public self-censorship, the censee aligns her expression of attitudes according to the public censor. In private self-censorship, the roles of censor and censee are fullled by the same agent. The distinction has repercussions for normative analysis: principles of free speech can only be invoked in cases of public self-censorship.

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Author Profiles

Philip Cook
University of Edinburgh
Conrad Heilmann
Erasmus University Rotterdam

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Citations of this work

Moments of Liberty. (Self-)Censorship Games in the Essays of Virginia Woolf.Paulina Pająk - 2017 - Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Litteraria Polonica 45 (7):283-301.

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